The XM files: Using named fences as references.

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — Reference files don’t exist anymore. Not in the traditional sense at least. Since the release of V8, every model inside a V8 design file can be referenced into another model, so the design file has been transformed into a design container. Entire projects can be stored in one DGN file — which is why we MicroStation users should start referring to reference files as just “references.”

In MicroStation V8 XM Edition, Bentley has given users the ability to reference in almost anything. In V7, you could only attach a file using the whole design as a reference, or a saved view. In earlier V8 version, users have been able to add models to the list of “things” they can reference into another drawing. In XM, Bentley has included the ability to reference in named fences and named element groups, as well as using Design History. In this article, we’ll show you how to use XM’s named fences as references.

When you place a fence in XM, you have the option to save that fence and give it a name. You can have virtually unlimited saved fences.

Then, you can recall those fences by selecting any of the named fences from any of the Fence tool dialog boxes. Also, when you are attaching a reference, you can even select multiple named fences to reference into another drawing. That is hot!
Here is how you attach multiple fenced views as references (to get the sample file used in this article, go to

  1. Open “desk.dgn”.
  2. Fence the areas you want to use for this exercise. Then, name your fences. We used “left” for the left side of the desk and “right” for the right.
  3. Open a new model to use as a master file to reference in the named fences. In this example, we used a sheet model called “Border”.
  4. Once in the “Border” model, open the Reference dialog box (File | Reference). And attach the desk.dgn file (which has the named fences we want to attach). In the Reference Attachment Settings dialog box, ensure that the model that contains the named fences is selected. Then, locate the “Orientation” area and browse to the “Named Fences” category. If the file has a named fence stored in it, there will be a collapsible box with a cross in it. Click on it to show the available named fences. Click on both named fences (by holding down <Control> as you click on the name) and press <OK>. [Note: Live nesting must be enabled when attaching this file and any other files you use which contain references of their own. Failing to enable live nesting will not yield the desired results.]
  5. Place the first fence. Then the second. And you are done!

We hope this article has been helpful and informative. Good luck with XM!

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